5 Ways to Avoid Being a #LinkedIn Fail

I use LinkedIn. I didn’t just fill out my profile and let it sit there like a stone. I reach out strategically and post strategically and have a plan to create qualified leads from my activity there. Doesn’t everyone?

Linkedin_wall_logo_200_133LinkedIn, when used correctly can be a business persons best friend. It can get you an audience with the people you most want to work with, but perhaps even more valuable, it can expose what you do to your ideal customer.

When you attract that ideal customer you’ll want to make sure they don’t find any of these on your profile:

1. A less than fabulous profile pic. Make sure you have a picture that is as close to a professional headshot as you can find. It helps if you are smiling. I say ‘as close to’ because it truly doesn’t have to be professional, I used a well executed ‘selfie’ for years, until I had a professional shot taken.

2. A summary that only contains a line or two. Use this area to explain in detail and in your own voice, exactly what you do. Do this in first person, third person can sound lofty and overly formal and gives no opportunity to highlight your communication style.

3. No recommendations. You may have a ton of one-click-endorsements (which equate to a little less than a Facebook like) but they are widely considered much less credible than a written testimonial of your work in a specific position. Reaching out for recommendations can be tricky and requires more work than just clicking but it’s well worth it as they will enhance your credibility incredibly when peppered throughout the experience portion of your LinkedIn profile.

4. The same update they found on your Twitter profile and your Facebook page. Don’t be lazy about updating your LinkedIn profile. It is a completely different platform than other social networks and requires its own strategic application of content, especially when you intend to get business from your connections there.

5. A lack of contact information. Some people are still not comfortable reaching out online so make sure you include a telephone number along with your various social media accounts and emails. If you have a complete profile this will likely be already taken care of but if not start there and get that profile complete.

What about you? Ever visited a LinkedIn profile and decided, based on what you did or didn’t find there, not to pursue the contact any further?  Please let me know in the comments what I might have left out.

Here’s to your business!

Frequently Asked Social Media Questions Series

“To save time shouldn’t I connect my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts?

Short answer: No, no and definitely no.

Here’s why. These 3 platforms could not be more different and one of the best ways to show you aren’t aware of how they work is to connect them.

Look at it like this, Facebook is the backyard barbeque, Twitter is the local bar and LinkedIn is the corporate networking event. All social, but all with completely different agendas and acceptable practices.

Connect Accounts What could go wrong you ask? Picture this, a bank manager who is also an avid hockey fan tweets passionately about his team losing, using a little ‘colourful’ language. Arriving at work the next morning he is horrified to realize that every one of last nights tweets (and there were many) is greeting each of his professional contacts as they glance over their LinkedIn newsfeed.

Now, what if his boss is also a connection, or worse, what if he is looking for work?

Using social media effectively for business is about gaining awareness and exposure that translates into qualified leads, leads that increase your bottom line, right? So, saving time, although a valid idea, becomes less important when your efforts are paying off. In fact, if your social media presence is helping to increase business wouldn’t you want to do more of it rather than less?

Knowing your audience and giving them appropriate content on each of the platforms will get the job done. Connecting your accounts might not only hinder that effort but could have it blow up in your face altogether. Just ask that bank manager….

To Endorse or Not to Endorse?

” Hey, can you endorse me please?”
Sound familiar?
If you are a member of the largest professional social network on the planet, LinkedIn, it’s likely not only familiar, but starting to become a tad annoying.

LinkedIn, in an attempt to become even more of an online professional resume, has offered its members the opportunity to very easily endorse each other based on the skills you have listed in your profile.

In theory it sounds like a great idea but in practice it’s not only falling short of its target, it might even be wiping out the credibility of LinkedIn in the process.

Here’s the problem, in the past 3 hours I’ve received two endorsement requests from people I have never done business with. We may have connected through a networking event, we may have intentions of doing business in the future but nevertheless, as of the time of the request, we have not. If I were to recommend your business skills without having experienced them, wouldn’t that be a lie? What if, worst case scenario, I did endorse you and you were lying on your profile. Could that not come back to affect my credibility in a very negative way?

In fact, we should all think long and hard before ‘endorsing’ anyone, from a lawyer to a realtor to a hairdresser – not having our ducks in a row could have catastrophic consequences.

So here’s what I propose, don’t put your colleagues, clients or potential clients in the awkward position of having to turn you down. Stop asking anyone other than regular, satisfied customers for endorsements. If your skills are what you say they are the endorsements will happen naturally and no one’s credibility, resume or hair-do will have to pay the price.

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